It was a wild family reunion Wednesday night, as ScreenBurn at SXSW joined its brothers and sisters for Game Austin, an annual event advocating and promoting the overall well being of the video game industry in all operations. The Austin Chamber of Commerce, City of Austin, Digital Media Council, International Game Developers Association (IGDA), Austin Film Commission, and the Austin gaming populace were all in attendance to further the dialogue about issues in the industry and Austin itself: how to bring more business into the city; strengthening the video game workforce; promoting educational programs designed with games in mind; incentive programs to convince businesses why Austin is the epicenter of gaming; and benefits for workers in the industry were all discussed. But as is the case with most family reunions, each participant had their own quirks, perspectives, and bragging rights. Just take a look at what the major players at Game Night Austin had to say:
"We have been influential in bringing over 140 companies to the Austin gaming scene. We take care of our customers and want to showcase the awesome gaming climate here. The low cost of entry is one Austin advantage, but above all else is the kick-ass talent." – Tony Schum, Director of Economic Development, Austin Chamber of Commerce.
"We collaborate with regional and non-profit organizations, throw numerous industry events, and market Texas animation and video game talent. We collect data on all these gaming companies so that we can have an information clearinghouse for the video game industry in Austin. We’re always supporting the industry." – Leah Smith, Animation and Video Game Liasion, Office of the Governor.
"We’re here to help with the growth of the industry. We want to help cultivate the next generation of game developers. Basically we’re like a team of Jedi. I’m Obi-Wan." – Kristy Bowden, Director, Digital Media Alliance
"What do you want ScreenBurn to be? The more support we can give each other the more momentum we can build for our cause." – Lindsay Muse, Director, ScreenBurn at SXSW
All of this collaboration and dedication can be summed up by one gaming enthusiast that brought the message of Austin’s gaming family banding together during the Q&A session: "I appreciate that you all have formed a ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' for the industry! Not many people have the chance to have this much support readily available to them."
Congratulations to Tom Hall, the Creative Director of KingsIsle Entertainment, who won a complementary SXSW Interactive 2010 registration at the event! With this much passion under one roof, it’ll be exciting to see the powerhouse ScreenBurn at SXSW will be in March. The countdown is on for tomorrow's January 15 reduced-rate registration deadline!